ORLANDO, Fla. - On Saturday, the Catholic University athletics department was honored for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service as the winner of the National Association of Division III Administrators (NADIIIAA) Community Service Award for On-Going Project category during the 2017-18 academic year.
Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Sean Sullivan and Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator Meghan McDonogh received the award at the NADIIIAA annual reception on Saturday, January 26 as part of the NCAA Convention at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida.
"I could not be more proud of the annual effort our student-athletes and their coaches make in contributing to the MLK Jr. Day of Service," said Sullivan. "They continue to be the role models for our community that we, as a department, ask them to be."
Each January on MLK Day, 500-plus student-athletes and coaches head out into the Greater Washington, D.C. area to provide the community with a wide-ranging day of service. The student-athletes spend the day engaging in a variety of service projects working in local schools, cleaning neighborhoods, painting buildings and beautifying city areas among other volunteer efforts.
"While service remains an integral part of Cardinal Athletics, this particular service initiative has become our focal point due primarily to the efforts of Meghan McDonogh," added Sullivan. "She has made our departmental MLK Jr. Day activities a priority and this award is as much about her efforts as anything else. She, along with our partners in Campus Ministry, deserve tremendous credit. This national recognition would not have occurred without their commitment to the cause."
The NADIIIAA Comunity Service Awards program, established in 2001, is intended to recognize the many contributions Division III student-athletes regularly make to their campuses and local communities. Recognition is given for projects in four categories: One-Time Activity/Project, Array of Projects, On-Going Project/Activity and Special Olympics Activity.
Catholic received an NADIIIA Award of Merit for its committment to serving the Special Olympics in 2018.
"We are very fortunate to have an incredible campus ministry office that does a great job of organizing service days and making sure that our teams can participate," said McDonogh. "These days of service provide a unique opportunity for administrators and coaches to connect with student-athletes in a different and authentic way while also serving our local community."
Sullivan and McDonogh accepted the award just five days after the completion of this year's MLK Day of Service as student-athletes traded a day off for a day of service on January 21.
Braving frigid temperatures, Catholic's athletic teams served at several organizations and areas around the Washington, D.C. metro area, including the Little Sisters of the Poor Jeanne Jugan Residence, Washington Parks & People, Carroll Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Groundwork Anacostia, Washington Yu Ying Charter School and the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America.
The department has participated in the MLK Day of Service each year since Campus Ministry introduced the initiative in 2006.
""Having 100 percent participation from our teams, the majority of our administrators and coaches this year was really exciting as this day of service has become a tradition throughout our department now," added McDonogh. "It is great to see everyone throughout our department work with our larger university community to improve areas in the DMV while also allowing us all to reflect on how fortunate we are."
In addition to presenting commemorative awards to the four winning institutions, NADIIIAA will make up to a $750 contribution to the general scholarship fund at each school.
"Cardinal student-athletes embrace the expectation of helping our local community as service is a hallmark of our department and the University as a whole," noted Sullivan. "We've found that not only does this service effort represent how we are a larger, cohesive community, it also binds our teams together in reinforcing selflessness and a healthy awareness of others. MLK Jr Day is perhaps the culmination of this awareness and effort."